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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


Litigation Release No. 16927 / March 8, 2001

SEC v. Terry V. Koontz, et al., Civil Action No. 98cv11904NG (D. Mass., Sept. 17, 1998)

United States v. Terry V. Koontz, Action No. 8:00-CR-341-T-24F (M.D.Fl., Sept. 20, 2000)

United States v. Jeffrey A. DeVille, Action No. 8:00-CR-56-T-23C (M.D.Fl., Feb. 23, 2000)

United States v. Richard J. Fulcher, Action No. 8:00-CR-23-T-23B (M.D.Fl., Jan. 13, 2000)

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") announced today that on March 2, 2001, Richard J. Fulcher was sentenced in Tampa, Florida, to two years in prison for his role in a prime bank/Ponzi scheme conducted by Terry V. Koontz, Jeffrey A. DeVille, and others. The Commission also announced that on January 5, 2001, Koontz pled guilty in Tampa to charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud relating to the prime bank/Ponzi scheme in which he orchestrated the sale of $23 million of fraudulent securities. The charges were previously filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida (Tampa). In addition to pleading guilty, Koontz agreed to forfeit various assets purchased with proceeds of the fraud. Koontz is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, 2001. The Commission also announced that on January 31, 2001, DeVille was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the scheme.

The charges arise out of a vast prime bank Ponzi scheme investigated by the Commission. Koontz, DeVille, Fulcher, and others conducted this scheme, in which they induced more than 80 individuals in 16 states to invest over $20 million in a fictitious "international bank debenture trading" program called Private Pool, LLC. The Commission filed its emergency action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against those defendants and others on September 17, 1998, alleging violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.

Koontz is the fifth defendant to be charged by the Tampa U.S. Attorney as a result of this scheme. Fulcher (mail fraud), DeVille (securities and wire fraud), Stewart Koral (false statements), and Joseph Papasidero (misprision of a felony), have all entered guilty pleas and been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Florida. In addition, the District Court in Massachusetts has entered judgments in the Commission's action against defendants Fulcher, Walter Lapp, Lawrence Seppanen, and Thomas Dolan, all of whom acted at sales agents. The Commission's action is continuing as to Koontz and other defendants.

For further information about the Commission's emergency action, see Lit. Rel. No. 15892.